The Collins Company Axe Maker to the World
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The Collins Company Axe Maker to the World

For over a century the Collins Axe Company supplied the world with axes and other edged tools until the flood of August 19, 1955 laid the company low with a devastating flood. Under the tutelage of Tom Perry the company buildings became an incubator for small businesses that survives to this day located in Collinsville, Connecticut.

My Irish ancestors all worked for the Collins Company when they first came toAmericawhere one of my great grandmother’s brothers was killed in a freak accident in the 1850s.  He was sharpening an ax head when the grinding wheel he was straddling exploded under him and cut him in half vertically.  He’s buried in theCollinsvillecemetery in two graves.  My family leftCollinsvilleright after the accident and sought their livelihood inWinsted,Connecticut.

Collinsvilleis a borough in the Town ofCantonthat is located on the banks of theFarmingtonRiver.  Canton is bordered by the towns of Avon, Burlington and Farmington and it was here in 1926 that Samuel Wilkinson Collins at 24 and his brother David at 21 bought a sawmill along with their wealthy cousin William Wells that was located on the banks of the Farmington River.

Shortly after buying the sawmill the Collins brothers started making high quality axes that were sold by Yankee Peddlers wholesale all over the world.  Axes weren’t their only product another was machetes that quickly found their way into tropical sugar cane fields.  These were embellished with their company seal that was an arm grasping a hammer sticking up from a crown that had the slogan “Legitimos Collins” under the crown.  An illusion to the machetes they sold inLatin America.

The number of different items the company made finally reached over 1,300 edge tools that included axes, adzes, machetes, hatchets, picks, knives, swords and bayonets.  One tool that was made was a pike head that was used by jaguar hunters inSouth Americafor killing jaguars by allowing them kill themselves by charging the pike.  In his younger years the Author spent some time in the High Arctic and discovered the pike had made its way north where it was put to good effect by the Eskimos for killing polar bears by allowing them to charge the pike.

The riparian rights they had to theFarmingtonRiverwatershed were sold to the Stanley Works of New Britain along with the rights to manufacture tools under the name of the Collins Ax Company.  The land and buildings inCollinsvillewere sold to Tom Perry who originally only wanted to buy the bell in the belfry on the office building.  Mr. McConky the last CEO told Perry if he wanted to buy the bell he’d have to buy everything under the bell.  Perry thought about it for a couple days, and finally bought all the real estate too. He already owned the old Underwood Works in New Hartford, Connecticut so he turned the property into a sort of incubator for new businesses and rented out industrial space.

The Collins Company although for over a century supplied axes and other edged tools to the entire world was fatally wounded by a devastating flood that occurred on August 19, 1955 and although it tried to function for a few years later it was unable to survive the damage caused by the flood.  Some of its assets were sold off and its plant became a sort of incubator for small business under the tutelage of Tom Perry.

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